Business owners brace for flooding as rivers rise across Chicago area

Chicago News USA

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Days of steady rain have brought an unwelcome sight to DuPage County, as the river of the same name began flowing above flood stage.

Business owners in Naperville worked to try and protect their buildings Sunday, as officials warned the public to stay off the water. Riff Menza was building a barrier of sandbags and a wall of plywood to keep the rushing water out of his riverfront restaurant.

“I’ve been doing it for 34 years, so there’s a system to the madness,” said Menza, who owns Frankie’s Blue Room.

The DuPage River was measured at 11.6 feet Sunday morning, and it’s expected to keep rising about two more feet before falling back below flood stage once again on Wednesday.

As bad as it is now, Menza said he fears flooding will likely worsen by Monday.

“When it starts turning sunny over the next 20 hours, and you guys (in Chicago) are all out at the park, we start getting the worst of it at that point,” Menza said.

Just down the block is Alicia’s Photography, where owner Alicia Johnson said a flood on top of a pandemic could cripple business further.

“I feel like this is salt in the wounds; our business has been closed for eight weeks,” Johnson said. 

For parents in a pandemic, the answer to what to do on a rainy day like Sunday was simple: whatever floats your boat. The spectacle sparked creativity in 7-year-old Emmet Domnenko and his 5-year-old sister Aira.

“It was raining, we were bored out of our minds, and Emmett said he wanted to build the Titanic,” dad Mark Domenko said. 

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